Short answer: Yes. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No.
There’s been a lot of talk in the blogosphere lately about book reviews…and how they are relatively unpopular. Marie from Drizzle and Hurricane Books and Kelly from Just Another Book in the Wall wrote amazing discussions about whether book reviews are necessary for book blogs. This inspired me to explore the question: are book reviews underappreciated? We all know that relative to other posts (eg. tags, memes, wrap-ups, discussions, etc.) reviews receive less engagement. When I first started blogging, I remembered being so surprised by the abundance of posts that weren’t reviews. You would think that a book blog would be populated with book reviews, but for many bloggers, including myself, this isn’t the case. Why is that?
Let’s start by exploring a few questions:
What is the purpose of book blogging?
In my opinion, it’s to share my love of reading. We have created a community where we can fangirl about our favorite authors and squeal about getting lost in a story. Blogging allows me to instantly connect with others who also love this activity. I started blogging as a way to voice my thoughts on fun reads, but I am constantly motivated and encouraged to continue because of the passionate friends I have made. The biggest strength of the book blogging community is its people. It’s what makes it so unique and different from Goodreads or even reviews on Amazon.
Why are reviews less popular than other posts?
Statistically, reviews receive the least amount of views and comments.
I know that I personally prefer reading reviews on books that I’m already familiar with. If a blogger reviews a book I have already read or am planning on reading, I’m more incentivized to see their thoughts on it. Typically, if it’s a book I’ve never heard of, it’s a low priority post for me to visit…but Tiffany! Shame on you! This behavior defeats the purpose of reviews!
Reviews are meant to show others your thoughts on a story. We read reviews to see someone’s feelings which cause us to either add a book to our TBR, move it higher on the list, or just cross out completely. Avoiding reviews of lesser known books is counterintuitive to this process. What are you reading then if you’re not reading reviews? Personally, I love readings tags and discussions because I feel a deeper connection with the blogger behind the screen. Like I said earlier, I love engaging with this community, and reading these types of posts is one of the best ways to do it. Reviews often feel more distant because it’s an analysis and reflection. On the other hand, discussion posts and tags give a better introduction to the actual person’s life, experiences, and thoughts. While I do enjoy writing reviews, I often prefer writing these posts because I see it as my little contribution to this community.
Combining these two questions…
Are book reviews underappreciated?
Definitely. Reviews are viewed not as “fun”, so we may unintentionally defer to reading wrap-ups, tags, and discussions. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means we love getting to know our fellow bloggers. It means we’re making friends!! Truthfully, I read the most reviews from bloggers I know I love because I trust them. Even if we have differing preferences, I respect their opinion and use the reviews as a way to learn more.
Blogging has evolved to a platform beyond reviewing books. It’s become a platform for cultivating friendships. We discuss book plots and characters, but we also discuss our favorites, our frustrations, and ourselves! In the end, we’re all here because of a love for reading, and this common denominator shows that different people and different types of posts may be inspired by it.
Do you prefer reading reviews or other posts? How about writing? Let me know your thoughts! 💕